Bay City, Michigan – One of the 3 men who are facing federal felony charges in connection with illegal asbestos removal from the Bay City Academy in Michigan has reached a plea agreement, instead of going before a jury.
On 11th February, Rodolfo Rodriguez appeared in the United States Dist. Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in downtown Bay City. Rodriguez admitted guilty to a count of perjury prior to a federal grand jury. Legal experts say the charge carries a maximum punishment of imprisonment for 5 years, in addition to a penalty of $250000.
In exchange, the prosecution has agreed to dismiss another charge against Rodriguez. He won’t face the count of tampering with victims, informants, or witnesses any longer.
According to the plea deal, in 2010 April, Steven Ingersoll bought the church building at 400 North Madison Avenue with a plan to transform it into a school for the Bay City Academy. Steven Ingersoll hired Roy Bradley Sr. for performing the renovation.
Bradley’s workers illegally and improperly removed some materials containing asbestos at Bradley’s direction and the foreman Mr. Gerald Essex (known as ‘Bark’), the state records say. Rodriguez was an employee of Bradley. He was a carpenter and was familiar with removal of asbestos, documents indicate.
Essex and Bradley both were charged with 4 counts of improperly handling and distributing asbestos. They could receive up to 5 years in federal prison for this felony, in addition to a fine of $250000. Their indictment states that they were the individuals operating, managing and overseeing a renovation and demolition activity that involves nearly 260 linear ft and 160 sq. ft. of regulated ACM (Asbestos-Containing Materials) at the church. They intentionally failed to cleanup and cause the abatement of all the regulated ACM from the facility in line with the NESHAP, according to the indictments.
Bradley was the owner of Lasting Impressions when the renovations took place.
The charter school was founded by Ingersoll, an entrepreneur and optometrist, for students from nursery school through 9th grade. The school was opened in 2011 September and has 3 campuses in Bay City.
The sentencing guidelines of Rodriguez range from 15-21 months. In addition, he is subject to probation for 3 years after imprisonment and fines of up to $30000, court documents say.
United States Dist. Judge Hon. Thomas Ludington will sentence Mr. Rodriguez on 5th June at 2:30 PM.
The trials of Bradley and Essex are set to start on 15th April.